Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, with Pope Francis following a Mass outside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, 2015
The US Pennsylvania Supreme Court last night released a grand jury investigation into child sexual abuse by Catholic priests in six state dioceses.
The 884-page document is being called “the most comprehensive report on clergy sex abusers by a US state“.
The findings include:
301 Catholic priests identified as “predator priests” who sexually abused children while serving in active ministry in the church.
Detailed accounts of over 1,000 children victimized sexually by “predator priests”, with the grand jury noting it believed the real number of victims was in the “thousands.”
Senior church officials, including bishops, monsignors and others, knew about the abuse committed by priests, but routinely covered it up to avoid scandal, criminal charges against priests, and monetary damages to the dioceses.
Priests committed acts of sexual abuse upon children, and were routinely shuttled to other parishes — while parishioners were left unaware of sexual predators in their midst.
The report faults Cardinal Donald Wuerl, former long-time bishop of Pittsburgh now head of the church in Washington DC, over his handling of abusive priests.
The report says Wuerl approved transfers for priests instead of removing them from ministry, oversaw inadequate church investigations and concealed information when priests were reported to law enforcement.
The report also says he advised parishes not to publicly announce or acknowledge complaints, and offered financial support to priests who were accused and later resigned.
Meanwhile in Dublin…
Wuerl is scheduled to speak at the World Meeting of Families in Dublin this month during Pope Francis’s visit to Ireland.
He is listed as a keynote speaker and will give a speech entitled ‘The welfare of the family is decisive for the future of the world’ on Wednesday, August 22, at 2.30pm in Dublin’s RDS.
His speech will be followed by “testimonies of young people on their hopes and dreams for marriage and the family in the third millennium”.
Yesterday: Worship Like It’s 1979
Previously: Falling Like Dominoes
When we did our @GlobeSpotlight stories on clergy sex abuse, some people asked us why Boston had this problem. But they were missing the larger, systemic tragedy: It was never just Boston. It was always everywhere: https://t.co/wVIFwQkTer
— Sacha Pfeiffer (@SachaPfeiffer) August 15, 2018